ketball team watched helplessly last season as Francis Howell celebrated a Class 5 District 8 championship – and a trip to the state tournament.
The Trojans want it to be them this season. However, it will be with a completely different unit from the one that led them to the brink of a title under first-year coach Tim Gilmore.
“We’re excited about this year. The kids have worked hard all summer and fall,” Gilmore said. “This is the most coachable group I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”
Troy got off to a slow start last season, but picked up the pace for a strong finish.
“At the end of (last season), we came together defensively. The kids worked really hard defensively,” said Gilmore, whose Trojans finished 15-12 overall. “We’re not as big as others, so we have to play harder than others.”
Troy lost four seniors from last season’s squad, including a pair of starters. Nevertheless, the Trojans are getting back senior all-district and all-conference shooting guard Griff St. Pierre, one of six players returning for the 2020-2021 campaign.
Joining St. Pierre are seniors Alex Thomas and Jacob Bruns,, sophomore point guard Chandler Nett and sophomore shooting guard Jack Fresseden.
“It’s kind of weird,” Gilmore said. “We’re young, but we’re also experienced.”
Gilmore will lean on St. Pierre, Thomas and Bruns to provide leadership on and off the court.
“Those three seniors are phenomenal with their leadership,” Gilmore said. “They come in early and stay late.
“They know we have a young team, so they know they have to be leaders on and off the court – so I’m proud of what they’re doing.”
In Gilmore’s first season, he installed a new system, which emphasized fast break offense and smothering full-court pressure defense. He said his returners should be even better after a full season in his system.
“Our goal is to get out on the break offensively, and pressure the ball defensively,” Gilmore said. “We want to be as up-tempo as possible.”
Gilmore also said he arrived in Troy last year knowing the Trojan program has a legacy of winning, and he and his players must live up to that legacy.
“(Troy Buchanan) has a rich tradition of basketball here,” he said. “It’s well-known basketball is big here, and I want me and my team to live up to the standards as those who came before us.”